Online Conference 2021

Fanad Lighthouse, Co. Donegal, Ireland

Online Conference 2021

Cape Spear Lighthouse, Newfoundland and Labroador, Canada.

Online Conference 2021

Fanad Lighthouse, Donegal, Ireland

Online Conference 2021

Point Amour Lighthouse, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

Online Conference 2021

Inishtrahull lighthouse, Inishtrahull, Co Donegal

Online Conference 2021

Bay Bulls Lighthouse, East Coast trail, Avalon, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Online Conference 2021

Arranmore Island, Co. Donegal

Online Conference 2021

Bona Vista Eastern Lighthouse, Newfoundland and Larador, Canada.

Online Conference 2021

Cape Race Lighthouse, Avalon, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Online Conference 2021

Greencastle Lighthouse, County Donegal

Online Conference 2021

Rose Banche Lighthouse, Newfoundand and Labrador, Canada

Online Conference 2021

Baard-Loeken, Norway

Online Conference 2021

Tranøy lighthouse, Norway

Online Conference 2021

Terje-Rakke, Norway


The 13th Annual Laurentic Forum (2021) will once again be hosted in a virtual setting for all of our international followers

to enjoy! This online conference takes place on the 2nd, 3rd & 4th of November 2021.

The Forum supports an overarching theme that is focused on Sustaining Coastal Communities by exploring the challenges & opportunities that lay before them.

This year’s conference will address thematic key aspects of Sustainable Tourism and The Value of the Blue Economy in the North Atlantic.

The event will include themed collaborative sessions from regional & national stakeholders who represent the consortium’s four partner regions across the North Atlantic. These include:

  • The Canadian Province of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Northwest of Ireland
  • Iceland
  • North Norway

Each session will present informative insights into the various facets of sustainable tourism and Blue Economy in the North Atlantic area. This includes relevant case studies, followed by an engaging panel discussion comparing the four North Atlantic Regions.

We have chosen the icon of a lighthouse as a key feature of our logo because of the message it represents around the world: a beacon of hope to coastal communities.

For centuries these guiding lights have withstood the elements in order to ensure safe passage, pointing the way to a secure future. It symbolizes the mission of the Laurentic Forum and our hope to do the same.


 This conference is free to attend with compliments of the Laurentic Forum and sponsors.

Conference Agenda

Click on dates below for further information

Online Conference Begins








November 2nd - Sustainable Tourism: Looking Forward

10:30am NST, 1:00pm Ireland and Iceland, 2:00pm Norway

The tourism industry is a mainstay for many regions across the globe. It boosts the economy, creates thousands of jobs, develops infrastructure, and supports and strengthens communities around the world. As one of the most affected industry sectors by the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism has had to adapt and change to offset lost markets, attract new markets and deliver a people-based service within restrictions. This session will explore the myriad of challenges and opportunities faced by the tourism industry by sharing knowledge from both sides of the Atlantic in an effort to support, enable and inspire tourism in the Atlantic area.

This year’s theme is ‘Sustaining Coastal Communities’, and through discussions with sectoral experts in Newfoundland and Labrador, Donegal, Ireland, Northern Norway and Iceland, we will explore topics such as:

  • Cultural Sustainability
  • The Impact of Seasonality in Tourism on its Ecological and Economic Success
  • Financial Sustainability

Moderator: Meadbh Seoighe

 1:00 pm – Welcome and Opening Address

  • Minister Steve Crocker, Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts & Recreation, Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Councilor Jack Murray, Mayor of Donegal

1:20 pm – Dr. Sigrid Engen, Researcher, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research 

Environmental Sustainability: Emphasizing the interaction between human society, natural resources, and biodiversity. From the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) is Norway’s leading institution for applied ecological research. Sigrid will discuss within sustainable environment / tourism discussing projects which Nina are currently involved with.

1:35 pm – Q&A

1:40 pm – Dale Jarvis, Executive Director of Heritage Newfoundland & Labrador

Cultural sustainability – Safeguarding Traditional Skills: At one point, makers of birch brooms, woven baskets, or tea dolls were commonplace in Newfoundland and Labrador. The knowledge of how to make the tools, objects, and crafts of yesteryear is being lost. Heritage NL is working to document crafts at risk and to develop ways to encourage the sharing of heritage skills. Dale Jarvis, folklorist and Heritage NL Executive Director, will present on identifying skills at risk in the province and planning for the future.

1:55 pm – Q&A

2:00 pm – Johann Vidar Ivarsson, Project Manager at the Icelandic Tourist Board

Social Sustainability – The impact of seasonality in tourism on its social and economic success In Iceland, a main focus in government strategic planning for tourism in the past couple of decades has been to decrease its unusually high seasonality. In the beginning, the main aim was to increase the industry’s profitability and stabilize employment. However, in recent years, with ever increasing emphasis on the ecological sustainability of every kind of business, public and private planners alike have realized that minimizing seasonality is a key factor in minimizing the carbon footprint of tourism in addition to maximizing medium-term economic returns. Johann Vidar Ivarsson, project manager at the Icelandic Tourist Board in Reykjavik, will give attendees an insight into the Icelandic experience and the important inverse relationship between tourism seasonality on one hand and social and economic sustainability on the other.

2:15 pm – Q&A

2:20 pm – 10 Minute Break

2.30 pm – Maurice Bergin Managing Director, (Ireland)

Financial Sustainability (Ireland) Resource Efficiency leads to reduced costs across Energy, Water and Waste within a business. GHP has expertise in these areas. Company owner Maurice Bergin will outline the many ways in which the tourism sector can benefit financially and, at the same time reduce negative impacts on the environment.

2:50 pm – Q&A

3:00 pm – Margaret Story, TIDE Project Officer

Our Marine Heritage – Developing niche tourism packages (Ireland) TIDE, or ‘Atlantic Network for Developing Historical Maritime Tourism’ project, will aid tourism organizations in Coastal areas to identify niche tourism packages. TIDE will use Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) in archaeology and submarine exploration fields to enrich visitor experiences and introduce an exciting new dimension to tourism and cultural heritage of the Atlantic regions in the UK, Ireland, Spain, France and Portugal. The Donegal based Project Officer Margret Storey will outline progress to date & plans.

3:20 pm – Q&A

3.30 pm – Closing Remarks

November 3rd - The Value of the Blue Economy: Sustainability, Growth and Opportunity

10:30am NST, 1:00pm Ireland and Iceland, 2:00pm Norway

1:00 pm – Welcome and Opening Address

  • Chair, Andrew WardJoint CEO of Inishowen Development Partnership
  • Charlie McConalogue, Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine

The Future is Blue

This session will explore the value of the Blue Economy and the social and economic impact on the sustainability of our peripheral coastal communities.

Moderator: Charlotte Teresa Weber, Moderator and Researcher at Akvaplan-niva AS in Tromsø, Norway

1:15 pm – Joint Presentation: The Blue Fairy Tale of the North 

  • Sunniva Løviknes, Troms and Finnmark County
  • Bente Olsen Husby, West – Finnmark Council

The Blue Fairy Tale of the North: The story on how a massive bankruptcy in the fishing industry in Hasvik municipality, Northern Norway, opened up for new businesses based on the Blue Economy. And a little bit about the Arctic paradox; That is, changing a demographic trend that is inversely correlated with the economic growth. We have the jobs – but we lack the labor.

1:25 pm – Iris Petten President, Port de Grave Historical Society, NL

The Port de Grave Peninsula Tourism Vision in the Blue Economy

1:35 pm – Karl Bonar, Manager, Donegal Blue Economy Marine Cluster 

A presentation exploring the social and economic impact of the Blue Economy on the main fishing port in Ireland, Killybegs Co Donegal.

1:45 pm – Sveinn Agnarsson, Professor, University of Iceland School of Business

Blue All Over: Demersal and pelagic fisheries and the traditional support industries were the mainstay of the Icelandic blue economy for most of the 20th century. In recent decades innovation and technical development, and more recently aquaculture, has become more prominent. A mutual dependency has developed between harvesting and processing on the one hand, and the other sectors on the other hand, which has impacted on the national economy as well as at a more local level. This is illustrated by drawing on some examples from aquaculture and the bioindustry. 

1:55 pm – Panel Discussion / Q&A

The Engine That Does Not Stop:

Changing Course Through Innovation & Technology

This session looks at the role Innovation and Technology is playing in developing the Blue Economy.

Moderator: Keith Hutchings, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation

2:25 pm – Dr. Paul Winger Director, Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Resources, Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University

Innovation in Harvesting Technology in Canada’s Snow Crab Fishery: Catching seafood with reduced ecological impacts is key to the long-term sustainability of commercially harvested marine resources. This presentation provides a review of 20 years of innovation in trap designs for catching snow crab in Canada’s most easterly province – Newfoundland and Labrador.

2:35 pm – Þór Sigfusson, Founder and Chairman of the Icelandic Ocean Cluster

The Incredible Fish Value Machine – Made in Iceland! Icelanders have long taken pride in their efficient fisheries. The Incredible Fish Value Machine in Iceland is a term used to emphasize that Icelanders see value in all parts of the fish. Clusters can assist in bridging skills and knowledge to make more value in the seafood industry worldwide.

2:45 pm – Joanne Gaffney Aquaculture Technical Manager, BIM

Innovation Enablers: Irish Aquaculture

2:55 pm – Pål Arne Bjørn, IMR and Jo Inge Hesjevik Fisherman and Regional Political Representative

3:05 pm – Panel Discussion / Q&A

3:25 pm – Closing Remarks


November 4th - The Value of the Blue Economy: Healthy Oceans for Future Generations

VW10:30 am NST, 1:00 pm Ireland and Iceland, 2:00 pm Norway

 1:00 – Welcome and Opening Address

  • Chair, Nils Kristian Sorkem Nilsen, Director Arctic, regional policy, state aid, North Norway EU Office, Brussels
  • Bjørnar Selnes Skjæran, Minister of Fisheries and Ocean Policy, Norway
  • Jón Þrándur Stefánsson, Ministry of Industries and Innovation – Department of Fisheries, Iceland

The New Frontier:

Sustainable Wealth & Health Through Blue Bioeconomy

This session looks at some of the diverse and innovative industries in the Blue Bioeconomy sector, including marine health products, food and biotechnology that create sustainable employment for coastal communities. 

Moderator: Dr. Majbritt Bolton-Warberg, Blue Bioeconomy Programme Manager at the Marine Institute in Ireland

1:15 pm – Jón Garðar Steingrímsson, Cheif Operating Officer, Genis

From Waste to Valuable Marine Health Products: Genis hf, an innovative Icelandic biotechnology company, pioneering the development of therapeutic chitin derivatives from fisheries byproducts. Genís operations is in the small fishing village of Siglufjörður in North of Iceland and Jon will discuss how Genís and biotch industry can be important to support remote villages and create valuable job opportunities for well-educated employees in relatively remote areas.

1:30 pm – Line Kjelstrup, Cluster Manager, BIOTEC NORTH

From Science to Commercialization of Marine Health Products: Biotech North is a knowledge-based industry cluster located in Tromsø, Norway, and serves the biotechnology and biomarine sectors in the entire northern portion of the country. The cluster shall increase the commercialization of high-value products from residual raw materials, new marine resources and marine bioprospecting. 

1:40 pm – Jason Whooley, Chief Executive Officer, Bio-Marine Ingredients Ireland Ltd.

1:50 pm – Heather Burke Director, Centre for Aquaculture and Seafood Development, Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University.

 2:00 pm Panel Discussion / Q&A

The Whale in the Room: Climate Change

This session explores how climate change is affecting our oceans, the migration of fish species and its impact on the future for our Coastal Regions and the livelihood of its inhabitants. 

Moderator: Jónas R. Viðarsson, Director of Division of Value Creation, Matís 

 2:25 pm – Dr. Glenn Nolan, Head of Oceanographic and Climate Services at the Marine Institute, Galway

 2:35 pm – Dr. Darrell MullowneyShellfish Research Scientist, Fisheries & Oceans, Canada.

Past, Present, & Future Drivers of Newfoundland & Labrador Snow Crab: Climate and fishing impacts on past and present productivity of the Newfoundland & Labrador snow crab resource and presents insights into on-going work modelling global-scale habitat snow crab habitat potential under an assumption of progressive global warming.

 2:45 pm – Ragnhildur Friðriksdóttir, Matís

 Adapting to Climate Change – Why, How and When?  The effects of climate change on the marine environment is already starting to impact fish populations, fisheries and fisheries management. While there will be winners and losers, both amongst ocean inhabitants and ocean users, climate adaptation will have to become a stable theme across the fishing sector in order to adjust to changes and fully utilise the opportunities

2:55 pm – Stein Arne Rånes Senior Policy Advisor for Troms and Finnmark County Council

Turning Climate Commitments into ActionClimate change is the most pressing issue of our time! TFFK is a partner in a new EU project called IMPETUS, where the main ambition is to turn climate commitments into action. Stein Arne Rånes will present the project and our work in more detail, with a particular focus on the work related to the coast and sea. This is essential since coastal communities are at the frontline.

 3:05 pm – Panel Discussion / Q&A

 3:30 pm – Conference Closing





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This event has been made possible by funding from:


Along with additional support and sponsorship from our following partners: